Binge On breaks net neutrality rules – so?

Written by on January 8, 2016 in BillingViews, Guest Blog with 0 Comments

Binge OnReports are blaming T-Mobile for breaking Net Neutrality rules with its new video streaming service Binge On.

Binge On offers T-Mobile subscribers the ability to stream or download unlimited amounts of low-resolution video from partners such as Netflix. Binge On is offered to all new T-Mobile customers in the US – giving them the chance to watch more video without exceeding their data allowances. Does this mean T-Mobile is breaking Net Neutrality?

But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said Binge On was affecting the quality of other providers’ videos too – even if they were not partnered with the service. Maybe because YouTube complained it was being affected by the so-called ‘zero-rating’ service… YouTube said in December 2015 that users were receiving its content at reduced download speed.

T-Mobile in return said, “We aren’t slowing down YouTube or any other site. In fact, because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before.” Apparently, the problem with YouTube was blamed on a flaw in software used to flag videos exempt from data caps, which the two companies are allegedly trying to fix.

However, the EFF has since tested the service and disputes the claims.

In a blog published this week, it said that when Binge On was enabled, T-Mobile “throttles all HTML5 video streams to around 1.5MB per second, regardless of whether or not the video provider enrolled in Binge On”.

It said T-Mobile was breaking Net Neutrality rules, which forbid the prioritizing or de-prioritizing of certain types of internet traffic. However, so-called zero-rating services still represent a legal grey area in the US. The Federal Communications Commission is set to meet T-Mobile and other service providers next week to discuss the matter.

T-Mobile has not commented on EFF’s Net Neutrality claims, but did clarify that by ‘optimisation,’ it simply meant it was reducing the bandwidth allocated to video streams to fit the mobile device resolution. “However, T-Mobile seems to have got around that problem by opening up Binge On to video services, simply by zero rating their content.”

The EFF argued that throttling video across the board constitutes a violation of Net Neutrality, putting aside issues of whether zero-rated offerings like Binge On should be allowed at all.

And we say, why should we care?  Let all operators offer data plans like Binge-On – we love it!

  • Is T-Mobile’s Binge-On an Innovative Service? YES!
  • Are all the terms and conditions using Binge On transparent to the customers? YES!
  • Is streaming videos from binge-on partners zero-rated? YES!
  • Is this good for mobile customers?  We think so, YES!

We say again, where is the problem??!  Perhaps Net Neutrality should be re-defined to first and foremost do good for mobile subscribers???

John Legere fires back at critics (see related articles here and here).

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .

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